Undoubtedly, Harrison has proven her toughness. Before she was a dominant force in the Professional Fighters League, she crushed the Judo Olympic competition in 2012 and 2016, taking home the gold twice.
And it didn’t stop there. Harrison continued her exemplary legacy in MMA and became the PFL Women’s Lightweight World Champion in 2019, and she would go on to win the 2021 lightweight tournament as well.
Kayla Harrison proves time and time again why she is one of the fiercest competitors in the game by delivering 5 knockouts and 5 submissions in her 12-fight career.
It takes more than just physical capability to be as powerful as Kayla in the cage. It takes a strong mind to put in the effort to be great.
All of her accomplishments justify the strength she has mentally, to grow and forgive a traumatic event of her past. At a young age, Harrison was sexually abused by her coach, and it made her question her will to live.
That dark time forced her to make a decision.
“When I was in my teens, I was suicidal. I didn’t want to live. I got to the point where I was either gonna run away, kill myself, or say something,” she told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour.
Harrison is thankful to herself for mustering the courage to speak out against her abusive coach. He was put away for ten years, released in 2016.
She suffered from PTSD and felt she hit several low points in her life. And although that event was scarring for her, she expressed appreciation for it.
“I’m not sorry. No, I’m grateful because I think that everything happens for a reason, and then I think that I wouldn’t be who I am today if I hadn’t gone through that and I wouldn’t be the person I am, the fighter I am, and the survivor I am, the mother I am… the friend I am. I wouldn’t be Kayla if I hadn’t gone through that and I wouldn’t be able to change the world the way I want to if that hadn’t happened to me, ya know?”
Kayla Harrison uses the traumatic experience as a reason to be a better person, instead of allowing it to consume her mind and dig her into a deeper pit of despair.
Her courageous acts and phenomenal performances make her a true inspiration for many people out there. She is living proof that it is possible to change the course of your life and not allow your past to overcome you.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255